Welcome to the JULY 2014 blog!
The Word for today
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8 KJV).
I continue to get questions about the seeming discrepancy in the Book of Acts concerning the conversion of Saul. In Luke’s account of Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:7), those who were with him “heard the voice,” but in Paul’s own testimony in Acts 22:9, “they heard not the voice of him that spake to me” (Acts 22:9). We will rely upon linguists who assure us the verb “to hear” when followed by the accusative case may be taken to mean “to understand.” In Acts 9, “with the genitive case they heard the sound of the voice, but in Acts 22, with the accusative case, we are informed that they did not understand the voice.”– John Montgomery, “Is the Bible Only Reliable Spiritually?” (Moody Monthly, March 1986). At any rate, the men with Saul (Paul) did not understand what Jesus said to him personally, so there is no discrepancy in the biblical record.
How can a good God allow so much evil, pain, and suffering—or does he just not care?”
• Many times when people ask this question, they are in the midst of great suffering. At that moment they are not looking for a theological treatise; instead, they are asking for empathy, concern, and tangible expressions of love and care. If this seems to be the case, we should hold off with our attempts to answer and simply come alongside to help them through their difficulties.
• It is important to help our friends see that Jesus Himself warned us we would all face trials and suffering. This illustrates that Christianity is a real-world faith that tells the truth about the world we live in.
• As Christians, we believe in three seemingly incompatible truths—God is good, God is great, and evil is real. Because these three truths don’t seem to go together, many have attempted to solve this problem by denying God’s existence (and with it, denying evil), by making evil part of God, or by denying God’s goodness or his greatness. But these “solutions” ﬂy in the face of the evidence and of the truth of God’s Word.
• Much of the suffering people face in this world has been caused by humans hurting their fellow humans. Sin also affects nature. “Natural” catastrophes occur because we live in a fallen world that is not the way God intended it to be.
• People desire a place without suffering—and God has promised that! One day He will judge all evil and create a new world. In the meantime, He is patient so that many who do not yet know Him—including our family and friends—could come to know and follow Him.
• God knows about suffering: Jesus suffered in unimaginable ways. He therefore understands what we feel. He desires that we come to Him to find grace and mercy to help us in our time of need.
• In many cases, people’s questions are not really questions, but cries for help. Pray for wisdom and discernment—but lean toward the side of listening and serving before discussing the issues related to suffering and evil. The message of James 1:19 is appropriate in these situations—“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” Also, it doesn’t hurt to simply admit that you just don’t know the answer when they ask or explanations related to what they’re going through.
• Don’t be dismayed and try not to overreact if your friends blurt out some strong feelings about God or their faith while in the midst of suffering. People in pain often say things that go beyond what they really know or will want to stand by later. Give gentle encouragement as God leads, but when people are struggling, it is generally best to be sparing with your feedback and admonitions.
• It is better to admit you don’t know what to say—or to say nothing—than to talk off the top of your head to someone who is suffering. Far too often Christians repeat clichés that might not even be true, hoping they’ll somehow make the person feel better. Usually the effect is the opposite. Don’t tell people that loved ones died because “God must have needed them in heaven” or “This must have been God’s will.” We live in a truly fallen world where evil and calamity touch lives in ways that are not fair and that will never seem right. Yes, God allowed it (in that He didn’t intervene to stop it), but that doesn’t mean He intended it or that He likes it any better than the person who is grieving.
• It’s rarely appropriate to quote Romans 8:28 to people in pain. Yes, if they are followers of Christ, then it’s true that “God causes everything to work together for the good”—but they’re probably not in the position to see, feel, or appreciate that truth at this point. And even when they do see the good that God brings, they might not like it enough to consider it a fair exchange for what they had to go through.
• Don’t underestimate the encouragement and inﬂuence you can have on people’s lives by simply being there to love and serve them (and to talk, as appropriate) during their time of pain or crisis.
Source: The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Pub., 2010), pp. 154-157).
I think you should pay for your own mortgage, birth control, college loans, food and cell phones. This isn’t because I’m Conservative. It’s because I’m an adult. – Patriot post
Lois Lerner’s emails didn’t disappear, they are in the shredder along with the U.S. Constitution. – Patriot Post
All the liberals who want to ban guns should only be allowed to arm their bodyguards with cell phones so they can call the police to come process the crime scene. – Patriot post
If the government can’t run the IRS or the NSA, the VA, or even a website, why are we trusting them to run our health care system? –JRE
Environment and Public Works Subcommittee hearing when Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) asked four former EPA officials—point blank—whether they agree with President Obama’s sensational global warming claims… and no one did.
Strange bedfellows: Chaplain and LGBT pride
The U.S. Air Force chief of chaplains recently delivered the opening prayer at the Pentagon’s observance of “LGBT Pride Month”—an annual proclamation from the Obama White House. At last week’s ceremony, Major General Howard Stendahl asked God to “open our minds” and “help us set aside limitations of prejudice of any kind.”
Our changing language
The flood of illegals coming across our borders were once “illegal aliens.” Then they were “undocumented workers,” then “immigrants,” and now they are being called “refugees” by the current administration in the effort to gain public acceptance. Well, we were promised “Hope and Change.” We have seen plenty of change. Perhaps the hope will come in November.
Methodist divorce approaching?
“Irreconcilable” disagreement over same-sex unions is once again prompting debate over splitting the United Methodist Church (UMC), one of America’s largest denominations. “If we are one church, we cannot act as if we are two. If, in reality, we are two churches, it may not be wise to pretend any longer that we are one,” concludes a statement last month from 80 traditionalists from across the UMC, which has 7.7 million U.S. members. (An additional 4.4 million members are overseas.) The statement says the UMC is facing a crisis in four areas because:
• Pastors have violated or said they are willing to violate the Book of Discipline ban on same-sex marriages. (The Book of Discipline is the church’s most authoritative guide.)
• Pastors and other leaders realize that there are no “meaningful consequences” for violating the Book of Discipline by officiating at a same-sex union. (In one instance, two clergy were given a “24-hour suspension without pay” for marrying gay couples.)
• More church leaders believe “significant parts of the Scriptures do not provide an accurate understanding of God’s heart and mind and may be discarded as uninspired and in error.”
• Among top leaders, “there are dramatic differences in how personal and social holiness is lived out and taught.” “We can no longer talk about schism as something that might happen in the future. Schism has already taken place in our connection,” said Maxie Dunnam, chancellor of Asbury Seminary and leader in the Good News movement for evangelical Methodists, in comments to Good News magazine. Source: Timothy Morgan HERE.
A time to depart
Is there ever a time to leave a denomination? The Presbyterians, the Episcopalians, the Methodists, and a few other mainline denominations are facing the loss of a sizeable portion of their membership. What is happening? Some of the denominational leaders, college professors, and prominent pastors are pushing for accommodation of the cultural agendas that oppose the biblical position on human sexuality. Even the mighty Southern Baptist Convention is being shaken. Dr. Michael Brown, an author and biblical scholar writing on OneNewsNow.com recently said, “If you are a Jesus-loving, Bible-based member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—unless God has called you to stand as a prophetic voice of rebuke to the denomination or unless your ministry commitments to individuals make it impossible for you to leave—now is the time to make your exit. The PCUSA has made its rejection of the word of God official.”
That was written in response to an action taken on June 19 when the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved a recommendation from its Civil Union and Marriage Issues Committee allowing for pastoral discretion to perform “any such marriage they believe the Holy Spirit calls then to perform,” where legal by state law. Could it ever happen to us? Possibly. What positions taken could cause a major division in OUR movement? Consider the following:
• If our leaders and prominent individuals in the organization decide that our doctrines and holiness message are too stringent for effective global evangelism…
• If our colleges or seminary were to give indication that the Scriptures are irrelevant regarding the cultural issues pressing the church today…
• If a continuation of major changes occur in the Constitution and/or the Articles of Faith suggests we have been wrong on the fundamental issues of doctrine and/or the Christian lifestyle…
• If a climate of change in the organization proved to be in opposition to our traditional stands on doctrine and lifestyle…
• If leaders refuse to enforce the Manual as the UMC officials have done…
• If our leaders should announce that they “feel led by the Spirit” to adopt a position of inclusivism and to depart from the plain teaching of the Scriptures on the matters of marriage, abortion, and human sexuality…
• If a majority of our brethren should choose to “follow their conscience” rather than the Word of God…
What would you do?
Are such circumstances imminent? No. But in these times of sea change in American culture, each of us has to remind himself that our allegiance is first to the Word of God, that organizational officials are not spiritual authorities by virtue of their office, and that subjective “leadings” are to be judged by the Word and not the other way around. Many SBC pastors, or even PCUSA pastors, of thirty years ago or beyond would never have dreamed their movement would be challenged as it is today. But when the dominoes start to fall, there is no stopping place. Sometimes a church leaves its people rather than the people leaving the church. As has been stated many times before, our hat is off to those who decide that the UPCI is wrong on the major issues of doctrine and lifestyle and choose to leave rather than stay and attempt to effect broad changes to suit their ideas or “leadings.”
Just because someone was raised in this faith and then decides that it does not suit his theology, he or she is not obligated to remain and attempt to move it away from its traditional moorings. They should move on and do their own thing elsewhere. Salvation is inextricably tied to the biblical message, not the UPCI or any organization. To try to “stretch the tent” to include everybody, regardless of their commitment to Apostolic doctrine and lifestyle, as the other denominations mentioned above have done, is to invite heresy and schism.
Read the entire article by Brown HERE:
What to do with worn-out Bibles?
When a Bible becomes unbound, or worn beyond practical use, what should be done with it? Almost any option seems repulsive. Being a minister with kids, grandkids, and great grands, I usually have someone waiting to have one of my old Bibles with my notes written in it. If that is not an option for you, how do you dispose of old Bibles? Alan Rudnick has written a column titled, “How To Throw Away A Bible.” He has some good thoughts. You can access his article HERE.
Your ideas about this would be appreciated.
Second largest religion in your state
Christianity is largest in every state, but who is next? That depends on where you live. But you might be surprised to learn that it isn’t only the Abrahamic faiths that capture the top spots in select U.S. states. In some Western states—13 to be exact—Buddhism is the second largest. And Hinduism ranks second in both Arizona and Delaware. Then there’s South Carolina, where Baha’i (a monotheistic religion that is sometimes listed among the Abrahamic faiths) is the second most prevalent faith system, according to PolicyMic.
As for those who wonder which percentage of religious devotees are actual church attendees versus nominal believers, the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies found that more than half of the population in 28 states attends religious services, the Washington Post reported. For additional maps showing the most prevalent denominations and county-level breakdowns go HERE.
As for the U.S. as a whole, Judaism is the second largest faith cohort, representing just under 2 percent of the population; 16 percent of the nation considers itself “unaffiliated” with a faith, but only 1.6 percent considers itself “atheist” according to the Pew Research Center. Consider that in 20 U.S. states predominately in the South and Midwest Islam is the second most prevalent non-Christian faith system. Judaism, in contrast, is the second biggest religion in 14 U.S. States and Washington D.C., essentially dominating the Northeast, as PolicyMic noted.
Source: Ass’n of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies
Scientific community finally admits what CCHR has said for decades: No medical tests exist for mental disorders
By Kelly Patricia O’Meara
Call it an awakening. Slowly, ever so slowly, the scientific community finally is acknowledging what CCHR has been exposing since 1969—that psychiatric disorders are not verifiable medical conditions, that the diagnosis is based solely on a checklist of behaviors, and that the drug “treatments” have serious, life-threatening effects. Click here to read the full article online.
People are not born gay, affirms Royal College of Psychiatrists
The Royal College of Psychiatrists in London has said people are not born gay. A statement by the Royal College of Psychiatrists that people are not born gay has been welcomed as “a major admission” by a Christian charity that helps men and women change unwanted same-sex feelings. Core Issues Trust (CIT), which is campaigning against a ban on therapy being offered to people who want to move away from a homosexual lifestyle, says the latest statement by the Royal College admits what it previously denied. “They now say that the causes of homosexuality are a combination of ‘biological and postnatal environment factors.’ So, if a child does not encounter such postnatal life experiences, he or she will grow up heterosexual,” says the director of CIT, Mike Davidson. Davidson says he is incredulous that despite its admission that being gay is not fixed at birth, the college continues to support the ban on change therapy. “The Royal College has also modified its view on whether sexual orientation can change, saying, ‘It is not the case that sexual orientation is immutable or might not vary to some extent in a person’s life,’” he says. “So how can that be consistent with a ban on people voluntarily seeking professional counseling to change unwanted same-sex feelings?” Source: Christian Concern
Another bottomless money pit
The Detroit Blight Removal Task Force presented their recommendations for cleaning up the once-thriving but now bankrupt city, and if the Obama administration agrees, taxpayers could be doling out nearly $2 billion on blight removal. According to The New York Times, the city would need “$850 million to quickly tear down about 40,000 dilapidated buildings, demolish or restore tens of thousands more, and clear thousands of trash-packed lots. [The task force] also said that the hulking remains of factories that dot Detroit, crumbling reminders of the city’s manufacturing prowess, must be salvaged or demolished, which could cost as much as $1 billion more.” Worse still, Detroit is already spending about half a billion dollars on cleanup efforts. Sadly, it’s taxpayers who are now being punished for decades of Democrat malfeasance. Read MORE…if you care to know…
How do you think the money would be spent? Reckon any find its way into the Muslim population of the area? Why not invite those who are responsible for the mess to clean up the city?
Nancy’s mouth, again
Nancy Pelosi says she has only one regret about ObamaCare: “I wanted a single-payer [system], and I wanted a public option.” News flash—the VA is a single-payer system. Look how well that’s worked. A single-payer system is the ultimate government weapon to use against the American people. When Nancy opens her mouth, be sure to close your ears.
New US Stamp to honor perverse predator
The United States Postal Service recently put on sale the Harvey Milk postage stamp. The American Family Ass’n says the Harvey Milk stamp was a result of seven years of lobbying by a self-described drag queen (a biological man with implanted breasts) and former transsexual prostitute, Nicole Murray Ramirez of San Diego. Honoring predator Harvey Milk on a U.S. postage stamp is disturbing to say the least. Harvey Milk was a very disreputable man and used his charm and power to prey on young boys with emotional problems and drug addiction. He is the last person we should be featuring on a stamp. Note the hypocrisy of the postal service’s “Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee,” which claims it “commemorates positive contributions to American life, history, and culture,” but specifically states stamps “shall not be issued to honor religious institutions or individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings or beliefs.”
Randy Shilts, a homosexual San Francisco Chronicle reporter, wrote a favorable and sordid biography of Milk in “The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk.” According to Shilts, Milk repeatedly engaged in adult-child sex and advocated for multiple homosexual relationships at the same time. Unfortunately, the deed is done. The United States Postal Service honored a child predator at the whim of a drag queen. Read AFA’s press release here. Furthermore, the radical homosexual lobby will undoubtedly encourage businesses to use these stamps—all in the name of inclusiveness, political correctness and diversity. This is not diversity; this is perversity. Source: American Family Association
AFA labeled a “hate group”
To the glee of all LGBT folks, the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the American Family Association as a “hate group” for their stand for the traditional marriage concept. Does that mean that virtually all Americans up until a few years ago were “haters” because almost 100% of officials, politicians, news anchors, and schoolteachers felt the same way until the sexual revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. Everyone who does not approve of their lifestyle and agenda are pronounced as “haters.” And just read some of their rhetoric…the gay community has the worst offenders. They can spew their disdain for anyone who has another view, but that’s acceptable. Wow! What an upside down world we live in today. The AFA label is coming to a church near you.
Bathhouses and gay bars as national monuments
The National Park Service is launching an initiative to make places and people of significance to the history of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual Americans part of the national narrative. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell plans to announce the initiative on Friday at New York’s Stonewall Inn, which was made a national historic landmark in 2000. Stonewall is widely regarded as the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. In 1969, a series of riots took place outside when police raided the Greenwich Village bar and arrested patrons and employees, citing morals charges.
So, apparently we should be on the lookout for gay hangouts that might be made into national monuments.
Quotes (with unconfirmed authorship)
• Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not using it in a fruit salad. – Anonymous
• By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher. – Socrates
• My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying. – Rodney Dangerfield
• Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was SHUT UP. – Joe Namath
• We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress. – Will Rogers
• Don’t worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you. – Winston Churchill
• Maybe it’s true that life begins at fifty, but everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out. – Phyllis Diller
• By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere. – Billy Crystal
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Time to smile
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Into each life some rain must fall.” OK, Henry, but sometimes it floods, as the following pictures reveal.
From my cardiologist’s diet: “If it tastes good spit it out.”